A practical guide to naming a vanguard party

To those who are confused by acronyms.

As a typical product of the British education system, I only able to speak my native tongue, so I can't help with non-English initials, but here's a way to understand the Anglophone left. Here are a few of the usual words in left groups' titles.


C -- Communist

I -- International

L -- Labour or Leninist

M -- Marxist

M-L -- Marxist-Leninist

P -- Proletarian

R -- Revolutionary

S -- Socialist

T -- Trotskyist

W -- Workers



C -- Current

G -- Group

L -- League

P -- Party

T -- Tendency

If you're starting up a new group, you'll have to think up a name. If you're aiming at being the national franchise of an existing International, the parent organisation may try to help pick one for you, which may be problematic if it is already in use, especially by a rival conglomerate. The problem is that most combinations have already been used, so it's a bit difficult to think one up unless you go for a real cumbersome or obscure name -- we once had the Workers Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and the Committee to Defeat Revisionism for Communist Unity, and we still have the British Section of the Workers International to Rebuild the Fourth International.

One thing to avoid is a choice of initials that makes up an unfortunate name. Back in the late 1970s, I was for a while a contact of the Workers Socialist League, who were usually known as the Weasels, which annoyed its members a bit, and I was told not to use it.

Then, of course, there's finding a name for your paper and theoretical journal, but let's leave that for another time...


Paul Flewers (New Interventions)